The Indian cricket team will play its first ever Day-Night Test match here against Bangladesh next month, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly told PTI on Tuesday, taking a path-breaking decision within a week into his nine-month tenure.
The Test is scheduled to be held at the Eden Gardens from November 22-26 and will be the second game of a two-match series.
The development ended days of speculation after Ganguly first proposed the idea to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, which faced resistance from its players and sat for multiple meetings to convince them.
“The BCB has confirmed and we are having a pink-ball Test. It’s a good development. Test cricket needs this push. Me and my team were bent on it and thanks to Virat (Kohli) also, he agreed,” Ganguly told PTI.
It was Ganguly, who was instrumental in organising the first ever pink ball match in India although it was a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore under lights in June, 2016. Ganguly headed the CAB at the time.
Two players, who played that match -- Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami -- are expected to play the first ever pink Test.
The BCCI had introduced the pink ball in Duleep Trophy that same year and it continued for three seasons before the Board scrapped it this year due to lack of broadcast coverage.
Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma have also played pink ball Duleep games among the current India players.
The spinners have expressed concerns about the dew factor, which they believe, puts them out of equation.
Ganguly, however, assured that conditions won’t be a problem.
“We will sort this out and there would be no dew. We have day-night one-dayers after all and dew spray is used,” he said.
There are plans to invite India’s legendary Olympians like Abhinav Bindra, M C Mary Kom and P V Sindhu and felicitate them for their contribution to the country’s Olympic movement during the match.
Ganguly, a former India captain and an advocate of the innovation to revive interest in Test cricket, wants to make it an annual affair like Australia’s Pink Test in which the national team wears pink caps to raise breast cancer awareness.
Also, with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set to witness the first day’s proceedings, it is expected to be a carnival at the Eden.
Ganguly, within a week of taking over as Board chief, has created a lasting legacy.
“It’s just my job, that’s what I’m here for... Because I’ve played this game for so long. I think it’s a great move for Test cricket and hopefully it will bring crowds back to the ground,” he said.
Internationally, there have been 11 day-night Tests so far since the first between Australia and New Zealand in 2015. The most recent day-night Test took place in January this year between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane.
India were approached to play a day-night Test during their tour of Australia last year but the country declined the offer at that time, asserting that sighting the ball becomes a problem after it gets old under floodlights.
South African coach welcomes day-night Test decision
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo on Tuesday welcomed the decision to play their maiden Day-Night Test against India, saying both teams’ inexperience of playing with pink ball might give the visitors an edge over the hosts.
“As a coach I think it’s a great opportunity. I don’t think India played a pink ball Test before, we too haven’t played a pink ball Test either. It’s going to be a massive occasion at the Eden Gardens. It will be a new experience for both teams. So we’re very excited,” Domingo said.
“We know India are a good Test team. Probably they are the number one team in the world, but there will be uncertainty among players of both the teams of playing a pink ball Test.
“Both teams don’t quite know what to expect, so it could work in our advantage, could work in our favour,” he added.
The South African further said it will be a level-playing field for both the teams in terms of preparation for their first-ever Day-Night Test.
“It’s going to be a great occasion under lights in Kolkata against one of the best team of all formats. So we’re really looking forward to the challenge. For sure there will be challenges because we’re not going to have a lot of time to prepare with a pink ball,” Domingo said.
“It’ll be the same for both the teams, not a lot of preparation time, but an exciting event. It’s new for both of the teams, so it can get the teams a little bit closer.
“And just the way the game is going, we’ve got to look at trying new things at certain times. Like I said, we haven’t done much of it, but sometimes change is the best thing.”
Domingo said Bangladesh players were initially reluctant to the idea because of lack of preparation time.
“I’ve spoken to the players. For sure there were some concerns. Some guys actually said ‘we don’t know what to expect. A little bit of preparation is needed, there will be only two-three days between the first and the second Test. How much time are we going to have to get used to it?”
“(But) during my time with South Africa, we played a pink ball match in Adelaide. We had a warm-up game before that with a pink ball, we had a few sessions. It’s a little bit less time this time for India,” he said.
“I’ve got some experience with the pink ball. Hopefully, we can share that information (with the players). But our first focus will be on the opening Test and once that’s completed, we will work with the pink ball,” Domingo added.